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Message from Margot: Fans of Tennessee Volunteers

By Margot Seay, AARP Tennessee State President (our highest ranking volunteer)

Russell D. Merriweather, who has spent more than 20 years volunteering for AARP and helping improve the lives of Tennesseans of all ages, is the 2010 recipient of the state’s AARP Andrus Award for Community Service.
Merriweather, who began working with AARP as an instructor for the 55 Alive Safe Driving Program after retiring from Lane College in 1987, spent the past decade as a volunteer advocate on issues ranging from long-term care to protecting Social Security.
His enthusiasm, commitment and expertise have earned him respect throughout the Nashville community, the legislature and AARP circles, where he has inspired many volunteers and mentored several volunteer leaders.

Merriweather also serves as a mentor to young men, helps deliver meals to those in need and has for many years delivered students to colleges as far as 200 miles away on his own time and on his own dime.

He has received many accolades, including last year’s award from Tennessee Sen. Thelma Harper for his “Dedicated Service to the Community” and a “Champion for Change” honor from AARP’s Nashville Area Regional Impact Team. He had a huge role in the passage of the CHOICES long-term care program now being implemented across the state.

Merriweather also has directed voting drives, distributed information on the census and co-coordinates an Annual Senior Lunch for the Southeast District of the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church that has touched members of the religious community from the Tennessee River to borders by Kentucky and North Carolina.

The Andrus Award is AARP’s most prestigious volunteer honor, given to outstanding AARP members who are making a powerful difference in their communities. The award will be formally presented to Merriweather at a ceremony Nov. 17.

This award acts as a symbol to members and the public that we can all work together for positive social change. Named after AARP founder Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, the award embodies her spirit of volunteerism and honors the important contributions AARP members make to our neighborhoods and our nation.

Recipients in every state are chosen for their ability to enhance the lives of AARP members and prospective members, improve their communities and inspire others to volunteer.
Merriweather was chosen by members of the AARP Tennessee Executive Council from a remarkable group of Tennessee volunteers who won regional Andrus awards, including Thelma Norris from the Tri-Cities Regional Impact Team, Minnie Thompson from Knoxville, Myrtle Hall from Martin, Dorothy Harris from Jackson and Almeda Frazier from Chattanooga.

To become involved with AARP in your community, contact us via email We are growing our teams statewide and recruiting leadership volunteers in several areas. Because we recognize the value of your time, we reimburse mileage as well as other business-related expenses.

To learn more about what we’re doing, check us out on Facebook.

Please help us live up to the motto of AARP’s founder, Ethel Percy Andrus, “to serve, not to be served.”


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